...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Friday, August 15, 2008


...Okay, here it goes. ::nervous swallow :: In case my 5 readers were wondering why I was cranky, tired and kind of reclusive lately--it's official. I am 10 weeks pregnant and almost out of the danger zone with the first trimester, so I thought a post for making it official is due.
I am also beyond cranky, sleepy, tired and generally feeling awful, so:
If you are curious, want to talk, want updates, want to tell me horror stories about what to expect, whatever--call me or email me. There will not be updates on this blog on a regular basis, or photos or such (unless I get better and stop being cranky). I don't think anyone's curious about how many times I threw up my lunch a week, or how much these blasted jeans shrank mysteriously since last Friday, right? :) Also, since I am kind of late in the game, I'm rather sure most of my 5 readers either experienced this themselves or someone in their immediate family did--hence no need for me detailing anything. So far we're doing great and needless to say both of our families are rather thrilled. And that's what counts...

We're now returning you to your regularly scheduled programming. Big hugs to everyone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hungarian Beef Stew (Porkolt)

I don't have the correct characters for the little umlauts over the 'o's in the name of this dish, but call me for correct pronunciation if you wish...:)

So I craved homefood yesterday, and The Husband craved meat chunks, so like a good couple, we met halfway. This is my version or a very traditional HUngarian weekday meal, as well as you can make it in the States.

You will need:
1/4 pack of natural cured bacon, finely diced (Kroger carries a version, or find a good butcher or farmers market; I got mine from the Coppell Farmers market)
3.5 pounds of beef chuck roast, boneless, cut into 1-inch cubes. Don't remove the fatty bits, just the tendons. In fact, if you got the bones from the roast, you can put them in, just remove before serving
1 large red onion, very finely chopped
1 hot banana pepper or Hungarian wax pepper, very finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1/2 bottle of decent red wine (if you're a wine drinker, save the other half to serve with the meal. Cab or merlot will do, but make sure it has body.)
freshly ground black pepper
Hungarian sweet and half-sharp paprika (forget the Spanish and Californian version for this one)
pinch of caraway seeds
pinch of marjoram

Render bacon in heavy pot over medium heat until brown. Sautee onion, garlic and green pepper until soft and starts to brown; be sure to stir to prevent from burning.
Add meat cubes,; increase heat to medium-high and sear, stirring constantly. All meat cubes don't have to necessarily be evenly browned, but aim for at least 80% gray-brown here.
Pull off heat; add 2 teaspoonsful of sweet Hungarian paprika; stir well. Add 1 tsp. of the half-sharp, or 1 more of the sweet if you only have that. Check the color-- meat cubes should be nicely red but not glowing. Add more if needed.
Put pot back on heat. As soon at it starts to sizzle, pour in wine. Season with salt, pepper, caraway seed and marjoram.
Cook under a lid for about 1.5 hours on low heat. Check for liquid levels, add water if needed. Depending on meat age etc. this might take longer or shorter. The goal is to produce a short sauce under almost-falling-apart meat cubes. The sauce should be relatively thick due to the slowly disintegrating onions and peppers, and the glutinous matter in the meat fat. Resist the temptation to add too much liquid.
Check for seasoning and correct salt if necessary.

Serve it with either plain white crusty bread (Sourdough works for this beautifully) and those tiny Kosher Dill pickles from the grocery store (trust me, don't get anything else. Kosher dill baby gherkins, 'kay?), or make Hungarian dumplings to go with it (galuska) as follows:

Beat two eggs in medium bowl with a fork until frothy. Add all-purpose flour and water and stir together until a batter forms that is thick, sticky but pulls away from the sides of the bowl as you stir it with a spoon. Season with about 1 teaspoon of salt. (About 1.5-2 cups of flour plus as much water as you need to reach the described consistency).
Boil water in a large pot. When water is boiling, take a large spoon and a knife and get to work. Spoon out some batter from the bowl, and, holding spoon over boiling water, break off little pieces with the knife into the boiling water. Stir water so dumplings don't stick together. Do about 3-4 spoonfuls of batter this way. Wait until galuskas come up to top of water, then fish them out with slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining batter. Keep galuskas warm until you serve the porkolt over them.

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Friday, August 01, 2008


A while back I blogged about me taking up a new hobby with the help of a 3-D program. Well, by now, a month and a half in it, I feel confident enough to put some of it out there to get some feedback from friends--admittedly encouraged by Janus Gate's positive opinion who saw my first fumbling attempts and didn't start cackling madly and shaking her head. Given that she's an actual artist, that meant a lot. Many hugs and thanks, dear, and if you have time to give me some more feedback, it's always appreciated! The Husband also offered a ton of useful advice on human figure, bone structure and movement--as he'd been doing martial arts and bodywork for quite some time, it was rather insightful.

A selected few of my attempts so far can be found here. I'm afraid most of them are very specifically themed, but hopefully they can stand on their own.